Quiet Critters

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 6.59.59 AMAlthough I have been a teacher for many years now, this year my skills have been truly tested.  As a relief teacher I have had to get used to the rules and routines of so many different schools, grades and classes.  One thing they all have in common, is a need for some AWESOME behaviour management strategies.  There are many a child out there who use having a new teacher as a  chance to test the boundaries!

I have used the tried and true, stickers and prizes but for the Early Years (Ages 4-7) I was needing a new creative strategy.  I make no excuses for my strict classroom style but I also love to play tricks, joke and make up stories for the kids.  Thats where the Quiet Critters come in.

THE STORY GOES….

My Quiet Critters have been very lonely at my house as my kids go to school all day and the baby just wants to put them in his mouth!  So they asked me if they could come to school with me to find some new friends!

They are looking for a very particular kind of friend to show them how school works.

  • An attentive listener (because they have very quiet voices)
  • A hard worker who always tries their best (so they can learn new things)
  • Responsible (So they wont get lost)
  • Kind and Caring (So they can make new friends) 
  • Keeps their hands and feet to themselves. (so they wont get hurt)

When they see a friend like this they will want to sit with them! They will sit quietly on your desk or at your feet and watch and learn with you!  

BUT if you suddenly are not doing the right thing they will ask to find a new friend or even worse just go back home into their container! 

HOW TO MAKE QUIET CRITTERS

The Quiet Critters

The Quiet Critters

You could make them out of anything!  I have seen pet rocks, pom poms with eyes glued on, teddy bears or in my case party favours!  These cute little soft and spiky guys were in a pack of 6 in a discount store in the party aisle!  Then for a bit of variety I found a pack of 4  little of “Moshi Monsters” (in The Reject Shop) for $3.  I placed them in a round plastic container (plastic so its light and unbreakable in my bag) added some sticker letters and a bow for the lid!

THE VERDICT

Yesterday I tried them out in a Prep class (5 year olds).  ABSOLUTE WINNER!!!  They were all desperate for a quiet critter and were trying so hard to get one!  No one got silly or attempted to hide or throw them (which I had thought could happen)  I was glad I had quite a few and at times they would sit in the middle of the hardest working group.

This is definitely a fun technique I will be using in my classroom in the future!

 

 

 

What you REALLY need to teach your child….Keeping it R.E.A.L

 
 
 
Want to know the most common question I am asked as an Early Childhood Teacher?
 
  What can I do to help my child at home?
  
Naturally this would usually come with a long winded, personalised to the child and situation answer, but really the simple answer is……
Keep it R.E.A.L
 
R is for READING  
Reading is THE most valuable gift you can give to your child.  Read everyday,  every thing, everyone needs to read! –  Reading is so much more than stories!  Don’t restrict yourself to reading the old faithful bedtime story.  From an early age it is important for children to realise that print carries meaning.  The words on a stop sign mean that the car has to stop here.  The print on a menu tells me what I can choose to eat.  The print in the phonebook helps me find someone to come and fix the fridge.  The print on the street signs tell me where I live.  The print on shop signage tells me what the shop is called.  PRINT IS EVERYWHERE!  
Let your child look at the menu at the cafe while you read out the options.   Read out the recipe while you are cooking.  Let them play with books and role play reading! 

E is for ENGAGE
Engage your child in everything you do.   Invaluable learning skills can be gained and reinforced doing the most everyday tasks!  
Whilst doing the groceries talk about what you are doing. 
Can they choose 4 red apples for you?  (colour, counting) 
Older children could choose the cereal that is the best value for money (comparison between size and cost) 
Whilst your cooking dinner? If I cut this tomato down the middle I will now have two halves.(fractions)  
Could you write on the shopping list, milk? (writing,phonics)  
Let your children gain independence, social and communication skills, by doing things that you would normally do.  Let them talk to the checkout operator and handle the money.  Let them ask the post office for a stamp and put the letter in the mailbox.  Engaging in the every day not only lets your child acquire invaluable life long skills but can help end whinging! Once they are school age,  ENGAGE in your child’s education. Year after year it amazes me the direct correlation between parents that you never see at school or show no interest in what their child is doing and underachieving or misbehaving students.
  
A is for APPLAUD AND APPRECIATE
Your child is an individual with talents that need to be appreciated and applauded.  You are the primary teacher of confidence and self esteem.  Don’t dwell on the negatives, appreciate your child’s talents and applaud their effort regardless of the otucome.  It is amazing to see a child’s confidence soar with a bit of appreciation and encouragement.
 
L is for LOVE, LAUGH and LEARN together.  
A teacher can teach your child to love learning, but it is your job to LOVE your child.  Teach them to laugh.  Laugh when times are tough or you make a mistake. Keep it in perspective, maybe the fact that little Billy only wants to play in home corner seems like a big deal now, but you WILL be laughing about this on his 16th Birthday. Seeing you relaxed and laughing at the situation helps your child do the same.  Being able to “laugh it off” helps teach your child resilience and self coping skills.  LEARNING IS FUN.  Try not to battle over it! Let your child know that learning is a life long process.  Even you don’t know everything (even if you think you do!)
 
 
Learning is something we can not deny.  It happens every day wether we are aware of it or not.  By keeping it R.E.A.L as parents, we can create confident, enthusiastic, learners who will have a love of learning for life!
 
For more ideas on how to prepare your child for school check out our article
Preparing Your Child For School” over at Lovely Living.